I Was Just Thinking: Still Seeking Justice for Breonna Taylor

By Norma Adams-Wade
Columnist

“The dead can not cry out for justice. It is a duty of the living to do so for them.” –Novelist Lois McMaster Bujold

Breonna Taylor’s blood cries out for justice. Countless avengers across the nation are seeking justice for her. But justice has been slow, very slow in this needless death that occurred four months, nine days ago. 

“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.” –Benjamin Franklin. 

I was just thinking… Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, as well as Atatiana Jefferson in Fort Worth, Texas, are examples of the untold numbers of African-American women, and other women of color, who have died unjustly at the hands of police. Taylor, 26, was an emergency medical technician (EMT). Jefferson, 28, was studying pre-med. Some advocates for Taylor and Jefferson point out that crimes against African-American women often are overlooked because of the huge number of African-American men killed and mistreated by police. All police are not bad. Bad police make it hard for good ones.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”–Martin Luther King Jr.

Atatiana Jefferson

Justice came soon enough in Jefferson’s death when Ft. Worth police officer Aaron Dean was indicted for murder – a rare move when any police officer kills a citizen. A neighbor has asked police to do a welfare check on Jefferson’s home because her front door was open on October 12, 2019. Officer Dean went to the home, but ended up fatally shooting Jefferson through a window of her home, apparently thinking she was a suspect. Police reports say the officer did not give a warning before firing the fatal bullet. In Taylor’s case, protests have continued since she was killed in her apartment on March 13 this year. Protesters and attorney’s for Taylor’s family say there appears to be no movement in the case, while the FBI and Kentucky Attorney General say they still are investigating. No one has been arrested for her murder in this Louisville birthplace of Muhammad Ali and residence of Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”–Elie Wiesel

Breonna Taylor

According to investigators, three plainclothes officers burst into Taylor’s apartment near midnight in what authorities describe as a raid looking for a drug dealer. Police later discovered they had the wrong house and found no drugs or illegal property. But the noise of the break-in awoke a sleeping Taylor and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker, who grabbed a gun thinking the noise was an intruder. In the confusion that followed, one officer was shot in the leg. Taylor was shot eight times and died at the scene. The boyfriend was arrested but community pressure got him released and cleared of charges. But no one has been held accountable for Taylor’s death. The slow movement of the case has sparked national protests from famous and little-known individuals.

“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.” –Haile Selassie

“You just need to be a flea against injustice. Enough committed fleas biting strategically can make even the biggest dog uncomfortable and transform even the biggest nation.” –Marian Wright Edelman

Writers for different media give the following suggestions for people who want to help bring justice for Breonna.

“If you want peace, work for justice.” –Pope Paul VI

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